Allentown works on fix for flood-prone pool
Allentown is working on a fix for the flood-prone Cedar Beach Pool, officials announced Monday, including securing the banks of nearby Cedar Creek.
The project, which required approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, includes removing a concrete bridge and its abutments to reduce the force of the creek water. That was completed earlier this summer, city officials said in a news release.
Additional work, including regrading the stream bank, removing sediment, installing erosion control measures and native plants, is slated to be completed by this fall.
The proximity of the creek to the pool, which is built in a flood plain, has been an issue for decades, but the problem has been exacerbated lately by two factors: a particularly rainy summer in 2018 and the city’s substantial $3.4 million investment into rehabilitating the pool. That renovation, completed by the end of 2017, forced the pool to remain closed for three problem-plagued years of construction.
At the start of the 2018 season, the pool officially reopened, but it was closed by mid-August due to repeated flooding. Floodwaters reached the pool, initially closing it for six days.
In less than a week, the flooding returned, and officials shuttered the facility for the season.
A second phase of the floodproofing work will be concentrated on fixing the paved areas around the creek and pool, city officials said Monday. That work has not yet been scheduled.
Karen El-Chaar, Allentown’s director of parks and recreation, said she was pleased that the work has, thus far, been effective.
The pool has not flooded in 2019, however it was forced to close for several days in July after the pool’s main motor was damaged by water from a broken pipe in the pool’s pump house.
“Completion of this project will have a huge impact not only with flood mitigation, but in restoring natural flow of the creek and restoring native habitat areas,” she said.
City spokesman Mike Moore said the work is being completed in-house by city staff.
Thus far, $3,699 has been spent for coir rolls and straw matting. That money was in the department’s budget, he said.
Morning Call staff writer Emily Opilo can be reached at [email protected] or 610-8206522.